Marshfield Clinic digs deeper with business intelligence tech

By Bernie Monegain
10:25 AM

The Marshfield Clinic will roll out new business intelligence software to boost operations not only in the business centers, but also to improve care with better data.

The clinic employs 792 physicians in 80 medical specialties and subspecialties at more than 40 centers across Wisconsin.

Clinic executives have selected the SAP Business Objects XI platform to replace its existing business intelligence system. The technology will make it possible to more fully use vast amounts of historical patient data, executives said.

By providing simplified access to treatment information ranging back more than 30 years and self-service tools to analyze that data, they said, doctors will be able to create a better-informed plan of action based on each patient's medical history.

"To provide Marshfield Clinic physicians with better tools to improve quality care, we needed to invest in a new BI system, one that would allow people without deep technical knowledge or training to easily access historical data and derive accurate conclusions from that data," said Jeremy Meller, CIO of the Marshfield Clinic's clinic division. "We believe our decision to use SAP Business Objects solutions will help empower our physicians and administrators with the ability to better find detailed answers to their own questions, allowing our BI team to focus on more strategic initiatives."

Meller said as the clinic team evaluated various BI vendors, they realized that a high-performing, intuitive user interface was one of the most important elements. He said the SAP technology is user-friendly "for everyone, not just BI experts."

In the past, the Marshfield Clinic relied on complex ad-hoc query tools that required users to undergo extensive training to operate. As a result, maximizing benefits from Marshfield's vast data repositories was severely hindered, as routine ad-hoc report development fell to the BI team.

"Our BI team did wonders with the tools they were provided, but our supply of programmer analyst resources fell far short of the demand," said Kate Konitzer, the clinic's analytics manager.

With SAP technology, the clinic can use reporting, query and analysis, dashboards and visualizations, intuitive discovery and advanced predictive analytics to deliver diagnoses and treatments for patients, Konitzer said. The clinic deals with approximately 34,000 scheduled reports and 2,600 ad-hoc reports each year, and will use the new technology to accomplish this in a fraction of the time it used to take, she said.